The Michigan Daily
Carpe diem and skip Gibson's latest
Friday, December 11, 1992
A Dickens of a time
with good ol'
by Sarah Weidman
"Carpe diem" has been a theme
in many movies. The idea of seizing
the day is getting a little tiresome.
"Forever Young" is another flick
where once again not acting on the
moment leads to a disappointment.
In "Forever Young," Mel Gibson
plays Daniel McCormick, a life-
lovin', risk-takin' Air Corps test pi-
lot in 1939. Daniel's best friend
Directed by Steve Miner; written by
Jeffrey Abrams; with Mel Gibson,
Jamie Lee Curtis and Isabel Glasser
Harry (George Wendt) and his true
love Helen (Isabel Glasser) are his
trusty companions. While Daniel has
no fear in pulling stunts 20,000 feet
in the air, he is terrified of opening
his heart to Helen and proposing in
marriage. He almost pops the ques-
tion, but the words won't cooperate.
Then it's too late. Helen gets hit by a
car, she goes into a coma, and
Daniel freaks out.
Luckily, Harry is conducting a
top-secret experiment in cryogenics,
and gives Daniel the option of be-
coming a frozen subject for a year,
or at least until Helen pulls out of
her coma. But oops, Daniel's cap-
sule is lost and he is woken up by
Nat (Elijah Wood) and Felix (Robert
Hy Gorman), two 10-year-old boys,
The capsule has been sitting in
the middle of an old Air Force base
warehouse for 53 years. How could
no one notice it sitting there
illuminated from above? The excuse,
which is thrown in later in the
movie, is a disappointing one and
only adds weakness to the plot.
Next, and this still baffles me, for
such an elaborately knobbed and
metered concoction, the capsule was
fairly easy for the two kids to oper-
ate. The movie lost whatever credi-
bility that remained when the ama-
teur boys opened a completely unre-
stricted ex-top-secret experiment.
The most important question to
ask was why was Daniel lost? It's
impossible to believe Daniel and
Harry's friends would give up the
search that easily. Especially when
there is an unidentified jukebox
hanging out in the warehouse where
Once Daniel is woken up, he
grabs the jacket of one of the boys as
they escape his frozen grasp. A
handy address label on the jacket
leads Daniel to the home of Nat
(Elijah Wood). Daniel is allowed to
stay there with Nat and his single
mother Claire (Jamie Lee Curtis) af-
ter he conveniently saves Claire's
life. The movie then falls into its
prescribed recipe of man trying to
find his past relationships, man
rushing against time, and, for antag-
onistic purposes, man being chased
by the FBI (it was a top-secret ex-
But all incredulity aside, the
movie does have some good points.
Daniel's confusion with the present
day and its mechanisms is humor-
ous. His first run in with an answer-
ing machine causes him to exclaim,
"This fella just asked me to leave a
message and then squeaked in my
ear!" He gets stuck in a seatbelt try-
ing to get out of a car, and he is in
Mel Gibson in "Forever Young." No word yet whether his butt has a cameo.
awe of not just the television, but the
Thighmaster commercial on it.
The relationship between Nat and
Daniel is endearing. Nat's dad left
when he was a baby, and Daniel
comes to represent the father Nat
never had. It's a little corny, but
sweet. Daniel shows Nat how to fly
a B-25 bomber using some old boxes
and knobs for gears and a Lite Brite
control panel in Nat's tree house.
Daniel, having learned from his
mistake, also gives Nat advice on
girls - telling him to say what's on
his mind before it's too late.
If you can block the implausible
and flimsy plot line from your mind,
and stretch your imagination, this
movie is simply the story of a man
out of his element searching for a
happiness he lost fifty years ago.
Gibson may come off as vulnerable
as he's ever been, but his puppy-dog
expressions can't save the show. In
fact, he might want to go back to a
time when he hadn't done this film.
FOREVER YOUNG starts December
16th at area theaters.
by Darcy Lockman
When English Professor Bert Hornback left the University last
semester, it was hardly on the best of terms. Hornback resigned from
the English department stating publicly that the school's commitment
to undergraduate education was severely lacking.
Those who remember last spring's Hornback scandal would not
have predicted his return to Ann Arbor any time in the next millen-
nium, let alone a short seven months later. But to and behold, guess
who's coming to dinner?
"I'm glad I'm coming back to visit," Hornback said, slowly, stress-
ing the last two words of his sentence. On the subject of his departure,
he added, "I simply disagreed with the direction the University was
heading. I fought against it for as long as I could. I was spending too
much time working against something I thought was wrong. So I de-
cided to leave."
When Hornback makes his way up to Michigan today, however, it
will not be in the familiar role of pedagogue, but rather as a performer.
He will stop in six Michigan locations, including Ann Arbor, to per-
form his annual reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
Considering that Hornback has been doing readings of this Dickens
classic every winter since 1972, it is not really surprising that he chose
to stick with tradition and come back to Ann Arbor for a few days. He
actually started out doing readings for his English classes here, and
moved on to perform for less captive audiences. "I did a reading for
my Dickens class at the University to try it out. I did it very badly and
decided to learn to do it well," he explained.
His efforts did not go unnoticed, and Hornback was asked to make
a series of educational TV programs for the University television sta-
tion. According to Hornback, those old tapes of "The Dickens World"
are still broadcast on educational stations every so often.
In addition to these occasional TV appearances, Hornback usually
does about 20 readings of this holiday classic every Christmas season
around the country. This year, however, he will do only 11
performances between his old home of Michigan and his new home of
Kentucky, where he now teaches at Bellermine College.
"I really like it there," he said, "The college is serious about teach-
ing undergrads. The students are a lot like Michigan students. But
(because it's smaller) I think there's more opportunity to convince stu-
dents to take their education seriously."
"Seriously" is how Hornback wants his students to take their col-
lege years, and "seriously" is how he takes his Dickens readings. Ac-
cording to Dickens Fellowship member Shirley Smith, Hornback does
the reading dressed as Charles Dickens and even uses a reading stand
that is a replica of the one used by Dickens himself. Said Smith, "It's a
dramatic reading. He does all the voices of all the characters. Like
Dickens, Bert is a wonderful actor."
Fans of Hornback and Dickens alike should not miss this Tiny
Tim-fest. It lasts about 40 minutes and complimentary punch and
cookies will be served following the performance. Best of all, in an
un-Scrooge like tradition, the reading is free.
BERT HORNBACK will read from Charles Dickens' "A CHRIST MAS
CAROL" tonight at 8 p.m. in the Museum of Art. For more informa-
tion on Hornback 's appearances call Shirley Smith at 761-8855.
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